G25 moots separation of powers for PM, MACC, AGC in meet with reforms committee

Source: The Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — A limit to the prime minister’s authority and making the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) answerable to Parliament were among the key proposals submitted by civil group G25 to the Institutional Reform Committee (IRC) today.

The group of retired senior civil servants also suggested separating the role of the public prosecutor from that of the attorney-general to promote full independence in public institutions.

“Institutional reforms are very important to bring back confidence on the economy, apart from creating a true system of check and balance to avoid abuse of powers.

“MACC, for instance, should be independent of the prime minister. It should be answerable to a commission sitting above it which is then answerable to the Parliament,” Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim who led the six-member G25 team in its meeting with the IRC told reporters at Ilham Tower here. Read more

G25 granted leave to challenge book ban

Source: The Star Online

Pic drawn from The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has granted the G25 group of eminent Malays leave to challenge the ban of its book, titled Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Kamaludin Md Said made the order in chambers in the presence of the parties on Tuesday.

Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan did not raise objections.

Counsel Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who acted for G25, told reporters later that the court had allowed the leave for judicial review and fixed Jan 23 for case management.

Read more

Moderate Muslims should sue Jakim for defamation, says G25

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

G25 member Noor Farida Ariffin takes Jakim to task for using public funds to sow discord among Muslims and Malaysians of other faiths, in her keynote address at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall’s civil society awards ceremony tonight. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, December 12, 2017.

RISING intolerance and extremism in Malaysia’s Islamic bureaucracy are threatening the peace and harmony of the country, said G25’s Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin.

Citing the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) as an example, Noor Farida said the religious department has shown intolerance of moderate Islamic NGOs such as G25, the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), Ikram, and Sisters in Islam, while political party Amanah has been accused of being “liberal” and a “threat” to Islam and the country’s sovereignty in a booklet produced by Jakim’s research arm.

She said the booklet titled “Martabatkan Islam di Malaysia”, published by the Malaysia Islamic Strategic Research Institute (Iksim), also accused DAP leader Hannah Yeoh of being an evangelist out to make Malaysia a Christian state. Read more

Set up Equal Opportunities Commission to take Malaysia forward, urges G25

Source: Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is ready for a law to address inequality in both the private and public sectors, the group of influential Malays known as the G25 said.

In a report entitled Invigorating Economic Confidence in Malaysia, it said an anti-discrimination law would help streamline non-discrimination in employment in all government departments and the private sector.

It also proposed the establishment of an Equal Opportunities Commission, as recommended by the New Economic Modal. This is “to ensure fairness and address undue discrimination when deceptive abuses by any dominant group are encountered.”

G25 said: “Malaysia has reached a mature economic status to put in place the anti-discrimination law (outlawing discrimination on basis of race, gender, religion) to give the legal basis underlying the proposed Equal Opportunities Commission. Read more

On the detention of Mustafa Akyol — G25 Malaysia

Source: The Malay Mail Online

SEPT 28 — We, the members of G25, join our friends and colleagues in SUHAKAM and the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), as well as the lawyers and academicians, who have spoken out criticising the detention of Mustafa Akyol at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 25 September, as he was leaving the country after completing his speaking engagements in K.L. He was accused by Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (JAWI) of violating Section 11 of the 1997 Federal Territories Syariah Offences Act which requires that a person teaching Islam must get the prior approval of JAWI.

We consider the action by JAWI as heavy handed, extreme, and arbitrary. Mustafa Akyol was here for the fifth time and has developed a special liking for Malaysia. Although he was aware that Islam is highly politicised in this country, he felt it to be a model Muslim country which has done well in providing for the economic and social development of its people. He was here, like in the previous four occasions, to conduct an academic discourse on Islam, and not, as accused by JAWI, to “teach “or “preach” Islam for which he would require a “tauliah“. Read more

Govt confirms G25 book ban for ‘promoting liberalism and pluralism’

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The government has finally confirmed the banning of a book published by G25, a group of prominent Malays, in a statement released by the home ministry yesterday.

The book, “Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy”, was one of 18 in the prohibition order issued by the home ministry, for containing material that may be “detrimental to security and public order, jeopardising morality and public interest, and corrupting the minds of the public”.

The statement, issued by the ministry’s secretary-general Alwi Ibrahim, revealed that the order was issued on July 27, 2017.

“This order specifies that the printing, importation, production, reproduction, publication, sale, distribution, issuance, circulation, distribution or possession of the publications are strictly prohibited in Malaysia,” he said in the statement.

The reason for the banning of the G25 book was given as “it contains elements promoting liberalism and pluralism which are contrary to Islam’s Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah (Sunni) teachings”.

It was previously reported that the ban on the book was made under the Printing Presses and Publications (Control of Undesirable Publications) (No. 12) Order 2017, and signed by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on June 14.

When news first broke of the book being banned, there was much criticism, given that Malaysia was projecting itself as a model of moderate Islam on the international front. Read more

Art Harun: Who’s the danger to society?

Source: FMT News 

Azhar Harun (Art Harun)
Pic drawn from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer and activist today criticised those who label individuals or groups as “liberals” or “secularists” for advocating a way of life which is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

Azhar Harun, better known as Art Harun, said the concept of liberalism was well embraced in all other parts of the civilised world, where the struggle for equality, emancipation, freedom, liberty and universal human rights is seen as the duty of every peace-loving citizen.

In Malaysia, however, those who uphold such concepts are ridiculed, threatened and seen as a danger to society, he said. Read more

G25 mulls legal action on book ban

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

Screenshot of book cover

G25 is mulling to take legal action against the banning of its book on role of Islam in Malaysia by the Home Ministry if there is no explanation given on why the book is deemed prejudicial to public order.

Group spokesperson Noor Farida Ariffin said in an interview with business radio station BFM earlier today that the ban did not make any sense as they had never heard of any incident of public disorder or rioting caused by the book.

The book, ‘Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy’, which was launched by Razaleigh Hamzah, had been on the market for the last one and a half years, Noor Farida said. Read more

Cenbet calls for review of government censorship process

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Following the government’s ban on a book authored by a group of eminent Malay moderates, the Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) says the home ministry should review its censorship process for print publications.

In a statement today, the NGO’s co-president Gan Ping Sieu said this was not the first time the ministry’s decision to ban certain books had attracted bad press for the country.

He pointed to the 2011 ban on an article in The Economist on Malaysia’s electoral reforms, adding that numerous other “questionable” decisions to ban books and magazines had been made over the years. Read more

Academic: M’sia becoming ‘nanny state’ with G25 book ban

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: An academician has cautioned that the country is heading towards becoming a “nanny state” where the government interferes in almost every aspect of a person’s personal choices and views.

Prof Tajuddin Rasdi of UCSI University said Malaysian intellectuals should be allowed to discuss matters of religion and other social issues.

“It seems now intellectuals cannot offer an opinion on religion because they did not go to a madrasah.

“It is a problem because religious groups are allowed to comment whether a sculpture is okay or not, or whether a mosque should have a dome,” the architecture lecturer told FMT.

He was commenting on the home ministry’s recent ban on a book titled “Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy”, featuring essays by members of the Group of 25 (G25) eminent Malays, as it was considered “prejudicial to public order”.

He said the book was written by noted former ambassadors, judges and high-calibre academicians, such as political scientist Chandra Muzaffar.

He said it offered a different perspective on issues and the writers were not trying to jeopardise society.

Tajuddin said there was a need to allow ideas to be aired. He said the absence of diverse opposing views had led to Malaysian university students lacking the ability to articulate ideas and issues well.